Conlang Relay 17/Tirelat

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The text



Jëżjuguŕjałikan su Ġavizahr. Na mih sošuni ŕadelin my Tahlamoža. Ła jëšausumin! Ispa jëxinżilin su Tahla u mih. Javi su Regasahn jëkłeramin my žrevari u dłahsahnmi Tahla. Vë zaž u dłah žrevari, su Ġavizahr nufani jëliŕkalin të saj tadru ġazahr tiskini vyzihkilin rih ušuri. Zekini pizaj vytëkikulin ma Tahla, vël vymikulin mih. Mëžba vyzitŕalin mih, të taċani vyšuñalin maj ñaj jëġan. Vyšokalin ma Tahla.

Smooth English translation of the Tirelat text


Ghavizahr "Little Deer" is untrustworthy. He was previously called Tahlamozha "Friend of Man". But that was wrong! Indeed, Man was cruel to him. So Fourfoot decided to fight two-footed Man. Between two fights, Ghavizahr loudly cried out and many deer quickly arrived to help. They immediately chased Man away, but they followed him. Eventually they caught him, and bit off all his limbs. They killed Man.


adj adjective
adv adverb
art article
cn countable noun
conj conjunction
dv dynamic verb (intransitive)
prep preposition
pron pronoun
sv stative verb (intransitive)
tv transitive verb


jë- (n) his, her, its (possessive).
jë- (v) he, she, it (subject).
vy- (v) they (subject).


-ka- (v) negative
-ku- (v) causative
-li- (v) hearsay, past
-łi- (v) opinion, non-past
-mi (adj) having, with, -ful(l)
-mi- (v) inferential, past
-n (v) perfective
-ni (adv) -ly (adverb-forming suffix)
-ri (n) verbal noun; action, event, infinitive
-ta- (v) deontic; must, need to, have to, should ...


dłah (adj) two.
ġan (cn) limb (arm, leg, etc.)
Ġavizahr a proper name (Little Deer, < vini "little" + ġazahr "deer")
ġazahr (cn) deer.
ispa (adv) indeed, really, truly.
javi (adv) so, therefore.
kłera (tv) to decide, resolve, choose (to do something).
ła (conj) but (in contrast), on the other hand.
liŕka (dv) to cry out, shout, yell.
ma (art) accusative singular, animate
maj (art) accusative plural
mëžba (adv) eventually.
mih (pron) him, her.
miku (tv) to follow, chase.
mukë (dv) to die.
my (art) accusative singular, inanimate
na (art) dative singular
ñaj (adj) all, every.
nufa (sv) loud.
pizaj (adv) away.
ŕade (tv) to call, name. (acc = name, dat = the one being named)
rega (adj) four.
rih (prep) as, in the role of.
sahn (cn) foot (body part).
saj (art) nominative plural
šausu (sv) wrong, incorrect.
šoka (tv) to kill.
sošu (adj) last, previous, preceding, prior.
su (art) nominative singular, animate
šuña (tv) to cut off, sever, amputate.
taċa (tv) to bite.
tadru (sv) much, a lot, many.
tahla (cn) male (mature adult); man.
Tahlamoža a proper name (Friend of Man, < tahla "friend" + moža "man")
(conj) and (joins two verbs)
tëki (dv) to run (move rapidly).
tiski (sv) quick, fast.
u (art) genitive/oblique singular
ušu (vt) to help.
(art) locative singular
vël (conj) but, yet, still, however (joins two verbs).
xinżi (sv) cruel, harsh.
zaž (prep) between, among, in the midst of.
zeki (sv) sudden, abrupt, immediate.
zihki (dv) to arrive.
zitŕa (tv) to catch, grab, seize.
żjuguŕja (sv) trustworthy (< żjugu "trust" + -ŕja "suitable for").
žreva (tv) to fight

Grammatical notes

Basic word order in Tirelat is SVO in clauses with transitive verbs. Tirelat has two kinds of intransitive verbs: stative and dynamic verbs. The usual word order is VS with stative verbs and SV with dynamic verbs. In general, modifiers such as adjectives and adverbs come before the word they modify.

The main verb typically has a subject or object prefix, and one or more suffixes that are added in a specific order after the verb root. (In this text the only prefixes that occur are the third-person singular nominative jë- and third-person plural nominative vy-.) Suffixes indicate voice (e.g. passive, causative), mode (e.g. deontic, optative, imperative), evidential and tense (e.g. hearsay, opinion), negative, and aspect. For this text, the main thing to know about the evidentials is that the "inferential" past is more or less an unmarked past tense. Hearsay in this case is used to tell a story, and opinion relates the narrator's opinion of a character in the story.

Nouns and noun phrases are introduced with an article which marks the case of the phrase. Tirelat has eight cases; the important ones for this text are the nominative (typically the subject of a verb), accusative (the direct object), locative, dative, and oblique. Dative often marks the recipient of an action: in this text, object of the verb "call, name" (the one being named). The oblique case is harder to pin down; it often marks the object of a locative preposition or an infinitive, but it has various other uses. In general, with verbs it adds a non-essential argument (with the word xinżi "cruel, harsh" it could be translated as "to").

Plurals are usually indicated with a plural form of the article, or a plural prefix on the verb, or both. Some plural suffixes are used on nouns in certain cases, but these are not used in this text; nouns may be plural without an explicit plural suffix.

Suffixes are commonly used for word derivation. One common pattern that comes up in this text is the adjective + noun + -mi "having", where the -mi suffix has the same role as the –ed in English words like "long-tailed" or "short-eared": literally "having a long tail", "having short ears" in the Tirelat equivalents (sedriloxmi, piŕkivynmi).